An attorney representing Todd and Julie Chrisley said the reality stars plan to appeal their federal prison sentences and convictions for tax evasion and bank fraud.
Alex Little, family attorney for USA Network’s Chrisley Knows Best stars, said prosecutors misled the jury that the Chrisleys didn’t pay their taxes and relied on illegally obtained evidence throughout the trial.
“Her trial was marred by serious and repeated errors, including the government lying to the jury about what taxes the couple paid,” Little said in a statement. “Because of these issues, we are optimistic about the future.”
US District Judge Eleanor Ross in Atlanta on Monday sentenced Todd Chrisley to 12 years in prison and 16 months probation and his wife Julie Chrisley to seven years in prison and 16 months probation.
The length of their sentences was shorter than federally recommended because of their age, health and caring for Todd’s mother, who has health problems, said criminal defense attorney Bruce Morris, who represented the couple at the trial.
Ross had ordered the Chrisleys to serve their sentences at Florida facilities — the minimum-security federal penitentiary in Pensacola for Todd and the low-security federal penitentiary in Tallahassee for Julie — to give their children time to visit both parents within a single day ‘ Morris said.
However, following Monday’s sentencing, both Chrisleys were allowed to return home, where they are currently staying. They were ordered to voluntarily surrender to authorities on Jan. 15, Little said.
As part of the appeal, Little told the court after the sentencing that he plans to request that the Chrisleys remain free until the appeals court makes a decision. This process can take up to two years.
Little told the Times that the pair had “a good chance of winning.”
“We want the Court of Appeals to hear her appeal, which we think raises some serious questions in the sentencing,” Little said.
Both Chrisleys were charged in 2019 with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States and tax fraud. Julie Chrisley was also charged with wire fraud and obstruction of justice. A jury found the couple guilty of all charges in June.
Prosecutors alleged that the Chrisleys, along with their accountant, submitted forged documents to banks when applying for loans and defrauded banks of more than $36 million to fund their expensive lifestyle. They said the couple spent the money on luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate and travel. Prosecutors also charged Julie Chrisley with filing a false credit report and fake bank statements when attempting to rent a home in California, and that the couple refused to pay the rent several months after they began using the home.
The allegations also included a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying taxes, prosecutors said. The Chrisleys failed to file or pay taxes from 2013 to 2016, although their fortune was amassed while starring on their reality TV show, which debuted in 2014.
“As this conviction proves, when you lie, cheat and steal, the judiciary is blind to your fame, fortune and position,” FBI Atlanta special agent Keri Farley said in a statement following Monday’s conviction.
However, since the June conviction, the Chrisleys’ lawyers have repeatedly made motions, calling for a new trial and seeking to challenge the prosecution’s case. They said prosecutors lied to the court, relied on illegal evidence and presented a lack of evidence to prove the couple engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the government. In one filing, attorneys pinned much of the blame on the Chrisleys’ accountant, Peter Tarantino, who was also convicted for his role and sentenced to prison.
“The only agreement established by the evidence in court is that Tarantino prepared Chrisley’s tax returns,” attorneys wrote in court documents. “But there is no evidence that the Chrisleys knew what information Tarantino included in their returns or that the information included was incorrect.”
The Chrisleys’ most recent main allegation was based on an IRS agent whom their attorneys say “misled the jury and the court” during the trial, according to court documents.
In a request for a new trial filed in August, attorneys for the Chrisleys alleged that an IRS agent, Officer Betty Carter, lied to the jury when she testified and lied to the court about the couple’s failure to pay their taxes in 2014 and 2015 had, and relied on an examination of IRS records. They said prosecutors also knew about and supported the IRS agent’s plan to mislead the jury and failed to inform the court.
“This testimony resulted in the Chrisleys being misrepresented as untrue, likely to engage in other forms of fraud and tax evasion alleged in the indictment,” the Chrisleys’ attorneys wrote in the filing.
A later motion, filed earlier this month, also asked the court to sanction Assistant US Attorneys Thomas Krepp and Annalize Peters, the prosecutors in the case, for their alleged involvement in the false testimony, misleading the court to lead.
The Chrisleys also argued that much of the prosecution’s evidence for tax records was “obtained illegally” in warehouse searches. They called the search warrants “deadly excessive.” Evidence from the first search allowed IRS agents to search for additional evidence that was used to incriminate the couple, court documents said.
Although Judge Ross denied the earlier motions, the Chrisleys are expected to bring these arguments again before the Court of Appeals in their appeal of their convictions and sentences.
“Yesterday was a difficult day for the Chrisley family,” Little continued. “But Todd and Julie are people of faith, and that belief gives them strength when they stand by their beliefs.”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-11-23/chrisleys-attorney-plans-to-appeal-sentencing-says-government-lied-during-trial Todd and Julie Chrisley will appeal convictions, sentences